Response to Mr Fluffy legacy supported by new legislation

Released 18/02/2015

This week, I will introduce a Bill to the Legislative Assembly with a range of amendments to support the continued work of the ACT Government in eradicating ‘Mr Fluffy’ from the Canberra Community through the Buyback and Demolition Program.
A number of the amendments in the Dangerous Substances (Loose Fill Asbestos Eradication) Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 support homeowners in affected properties. This includes the amendment to allow eligible homeowners with solar panels to retain the more generous feed-in-tariff provisions if they move to another property. This is a response to a number of concerns made by residents and I’m glad a resolution has been made to allow these owners to maintain their commitment to sustainable energy in a new home.
The ACT Government, as previously foreshadowed, intends to publish a list of affected properties in the week of 30 June 2015. A formal register of houses affected by loose fill asbestos is required to enable legislative and regulatory requirements to take place, such as the mandating of asbestos management plans for these properties, attachment of new planning permissions and the capacity to break residential tenancies. The legislative changes tabled enable this to occur.
The Bill also manages the public interest in affected properties that are not part of the Buyback and Demolition Scheme by ensuring prospective buyers are notified of the presence of loose fill asbestos in a property or at a site. This administrative interest will only exist until a house is demolished and the land remediated. This is a responsible course of action that ensures we deliver on our commitment to remove loose fill asbestos from the community.
From a practical perspective, this Bill will help remove barriers to entry in the Buyback program by;

  • introducing special provisions to enable tenants and landlords to terminate a tenancy in order to move to new accommodation, or surrender an affected property while continuing to provide significant safeguards and relocation assistance for tenants; and
  • removing the need for owners of affected units to provide building and pest inspection and energy efficiency rating reports prior as part of the contract of sale, as these create an additional burden on the seller and cost on the Territory.
The work of the Taskforce intersects with several legislative, regulatory and policy areas of the ACT Government and these changes are the first in a small number of amendments expected this calendar year. The current changes involve the Residential Tenancies Act, the Electricity Feed-in Act, the Civil Law (Sale of Residential Premises) Act, the Land Titles Act and the Dangerous Substances Act.
I encourage affected homeowners to continue to work with the Asbestos Response Taskforce around their circumstances and how they can be best supported through the Buyback Program.

- Statement ends -

Section: Andrew Barr, MLA | Media Releases

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